Sunday, September 11, 2011

Anniversary Memorial

On this tenth anniversary of the cowardly sneak attack on America, I have so much that I feel and so little time and space to express it. I still feel immense sadness, a sense of renewed purpose, and yes, a lingering anger. Rather than write a lengthy piece, I will instead defer to our readers and allow you to express your thoughts, your feelings, and what you wish for America as we move on from this date which will live in infamy.
Original artwork and photo courtesy of our friend, Jimmy Arone

32 comments:

LawHawkRFD said...

I want to thank Jimmy Arone for allowing us to use his artwork for our memorial thread. We know Jimmy from the old days at Big Hollywood, and he is both an artist and a patriot.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks to Jimmy.

On 9/11, I've posted my thoughts in my post earlier, so let me just wish everyone the best today.

rlaWTX said...

There are so many stories from that day - even just the "I remember seeing it on TV" stories. Like Kennedy or Pearl Harbor, it is the defining moment of a generation. And where you are in that generation makes a difference too. I was hanging out with my 24-27yo friends last night - they were in HS 10 years ago. There was a bit of a disconnect between their "real lives" and 9/11 - it still made an impact but the effect was mitigated by not being part of the greater world. I have a feeling that I'd see it more like their parents felt it - even if I'm 10 years younger - because I was a "grown up" (and had just moved to DC area). Anyway, that difference in perspective hit me this weekend.

That, and I think that Flight 93 needs a lot more recognition that we've given it. Sure, fewer people died than NY or even DC, but the possibility of devastation was huge, and the passengers' fight avoided that, and then they were obliterated, wiped from existance... I think that their 15 minutes of fame was waaaay too short.

LawHawkRFD said...

rlaWTX: Thanks for your comment. I agree, for the same big reason. The heroism in NYC and DC that day was almost impossible to believe. But Flight 93 had one additional factor. It was the only time on that day where Americans got a chance to fight back. And those brave souls were not found wanting.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Excellent article, and I only wish we could have one film that we could turn to for both encouragement and a reminder of everything that 9/11 means. It's unlikely we'll ever see one, given Hollywood's biases and the difficulty of handling such an immense part of American history crammed into such a short time frame.

T-Rav said...

9/11 is still intensely traumatic for me. I haven't thought about that day much in a while, but then watching some of the footage yesterday and today, especially the History Channel's composite of all the amateur footage shot in New York that morning--man, it gets to me all over again.

I learned about the attacks in my ninth-grade biology class, while we were doing an experiment on the melting rates of ice cream (don't ask; it was to teach us about the scientific method or something). Anyway, one of my friends told me he'd clean up our table if I wanted to go to the library and watch TV, because the WTC and the Pentagon were on fire. I thought it was a little weird that they'd be on fire simultaneously, but went without much concern to the library, and got in about the time the first tower collapsed.

One example of the panic everyone felt came after school, when my mom told me to be ready to take the car uptown and fill up the tank (I was nowhere near getting my driver's permit yet), because she'd heard a rumor that they were shutting down the pipelines. I also remember that just like in New York, it was a beautiful, cloudless sky all day; couldn't ask for better weather. I wonder now (I don't really believe it, but the thought does cross my mind) if maybe God was giving us that exquisite natural beauty, far above the norm, on that last day of my generation's innocence about the world.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: That amateur footage was amazing. A whole new and fresh perspective.

I've mentioned before that my son would normally have been on the Newark flight, but didn't bother to tell me that he had resigned his position with the company he had been working for and was safe at home in Berkeley.

I haven't mentioned how it affected my oldest grandson, who was just turning six at the time. He was like most kids--little sense of geography or location. He saw the first tower go down, and began to cry because his daddy works in a tall building (Los Angeles). My daughter told him it was OK, that wasn't where the building was. He was calmed for a few minutes, then began to panic again because grandpa works in a tall building and lives in a tall building (San Francisco). He was happy to know we were both OK, but very sad at all the people in the buildings in New York (even though he wasn't quite sure where New York was).

T-Rav said...

LawHawk, I guess one of the perks that day of living in the middle of Middle America is that we had few or no connections to anyone who might have been on those planes. I feel like everyone has a "Six Degrees of Separation" with those flights except me.

Which is not to say 9/11 didn't permanently affect me. It did, in some profound ways. As I've mentioned before, it was the catalyst that made me a conservative, although I've been working out the ramifications of that ever since. It also (for whatever it's worth) made me a diehard supporter of George W. Bush, who I'd been exceedingly cool towards up till then. Andrew and I will have to differ somewhat in evaluating the man--though I agree that the policies of his second term were, shall we say, exceedingly regrettable, I can never forget those days immediately after the attacks when he gave America the leadership it so desperately needed. That "bullhorn moment" to the workers at Ground Zero still makes my chest swell with pride whenever I watch a clip of it. Someday, I intend to write him a letter and express my gratitude.

ScottDS said...

I was a freshman at FSU and waiting outside a classroom to take a math test (that I most likely didn't study for!). A girl walked in and said a plane had crashed into the WTC. Like many folks, I imagined it was an accident involving a small plane.

After the test, I walked to the computer lab to check my e-mail. I don't recall what the story was on Yahoo!'s front page or when it first sank in that this was a terrorist attack. A few minutes later, a lady came in and said the lab was closed and classes was cancelled for the day. I walked back to the dorm and remained glued to the TV for a day.

I went with a friend to donate blood but by late afternoon, they were turning people away! My mom called me as well, just to see if I was okay.

Truth be told, I don't know what I think. I've never been good at... emotional stuff. I only have a few months left here before I move back to Florida (going back to college!) but I can see the new building outside my bedroom window, just across the Hudson. I've walked around there countless times and I enjoy watching the tourists taking it all in, snapping photos, posing for photos with firetrucks and the various memorials, etc. There's a nice sense of humanity on display there.

At this point, I tend to focus on the future. As I type this, I have the Science Channel's Rebuilding Ground Zero on in the background. I even had the opportunity to do a week of temp work at the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site at 20 Vessey St. Sure, it was just five days (and paid) but I considered that my little contribution. The temp agency had trouble finding people but I didn't hesitate. And the week I was there, someone stuffed $10,000 in the donation box! No one knows who it was.

I only wish I were rich - I'd pay for the medical care for all the first responders if I could.

BevfromNYC said...

The radio weatherman said at around 7am - "There's no other way to say it...it's gonna be perfect day."

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: That was the second time I had one of my kids missing and unaccounted for. The first time was when my older daughter and her husband were visiting me in SF when the big Northridge quake hit. Their home was at ground zero in Northridge, but I almost didn't wake them because it was only property and they were safe with me. But I decided I had to tell them. My daughter went white as a sheet when I told her. My younger daughter was house-sitting for them in Northridge when the quake hit. It was six hours before my son (who was at UCLA), navigating the freeways and back roads on his motorcycle could call me and tell me he found her safe at her mom's place in Simi Valley. I'm not sure I could take a third scare like that.

I have many criticisms of George Bush. But his appointments to the Supreme Court combined with that bullhorn moment will keep him on the positive side of the ledger for me. I just don't want to risk a third Bush in the White House. We can't afford it.

LawHawkRFD said...

Scott: My memories of living in New York City are much older than yours. The big controversy when I was living there was how the newly-built Pan Am building was "out of proportion" to the rest of the area, and hovered like a rain cloud over Grand Central Terminal. Today, it's the MetLife building, and fits right in. The WTC hadn't even been conceived of when I left town.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: I heard that the skies darkened later in the day, giving it a more somber appearance. Was that right?

BevfromNYC said...

LawHawk, honestly, I don't remember if the skies darkened. The world turned dark, but if they did, it was because of the smoke and dust. It was smokey with the acrid smell of burning steel everywhere. The "pit" smoldered for at least 6 months after.

T-Rav said...

LawHawk, I'll never be on board with Jeb Bush either. But I can never forget what his brother did for the nation. Or maybe it wasn't just him, maybe it was the solidarity and common patriotism everyone showed in the weeks and months afterward. Maybe that's what I really miss. As things are now, I'm sure if I pried, I could find at least a half-dozen people I know who would say something like, "well, we kinda deserved it," or "it was awful, but our reaction was way over the top." It's disgusting. I don't know how well I'll ever put up with academia, considering the idiots it attracts.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: I should have thought of that. How could the skies not be dark and gloomy with all that smoke, debris and soot in the air? Now that I think on it, the announcer was probably referring to today's ceremonies where there were blue skies in the morning. Did things get darker today later in the afternoon?

I'm beginning to know how New Yorkers felt about all that fire and smoke. It's fire season in the Tehachapi Mountains, and it's been unusually dry and hot the past few weeks. Then we had heat lightning, which started over 40 fires. Just as they got control over the one to the southwest of my place last night, it started to rain. It was enough to allow the firefighters to contain the whole fire. I was able to relax, but now two more have started, one to the northeast and one to the northwest. We are now under a "precautionary evacuation notice," so if I suddenly disappear, you'll all know why. That's the warning we get just before the "get the hell out of there warning."

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: The unity lasted about two days before Bill Maher praised the hijackers for their bravery and got his ass kicked off ABC. Within a week, the MSM and the leftist magazines were already asking "why do they hate us?" and hinting that we deserved that terrible day. I had already given up on there being any decency and patriotism on the left, but that reaction clinched my utter disdain for them.

Tennessee Jed said...

Thinking back on 9/11, there was a surreal feeling as more and more information flooded in, yet more and more questions raised; and the realization we were actually under attack.

I have a particular memory. For over 20 years, I have gotten together with some of my old buddies from work to play golf 2 or 3 times a year. In September, we played a tournament in Ocean City, Md. two weeks after the attack. We still were not all that interested in something as mundane as golf, but there was a lot of "if we don't do this, the terrorists win sentiment at the time."

There were a bunch of big transport planes and air force jets flying constantly out of Dover Air Force Base. We were all kind of jumpy and when a plane created a sonic boom, we jump out of our shoes. Very stange time. I still have nothing but admiration for all who served.

T-Rav said...

LawHawk, I didn't know that about Maher. Not that I'm surprised, but it does kill off any last ounce of respect I might--nah, I had no respect for him already.

The "102 Minutes" footage is replaying on the History Channel right now. I can't not watch.

There is a semi-LOL moment, just one, when some guy with a camera (he must be a journalist or something) is asking a guy in Times Square, watching on the big screen, about the latest events--"and how does that make you feel?" "How does it make me feel?" the guy asks. "It makes me feel wonderful; what kind of a question is that?" He turns to his friend. "Keep that camera out of my face." New Yorkers--gotta hand it to 'em, their sarcasm comes in handy sometimes.

Tennessee Jed said...

Appreciation to Jimmy Arone for his art.

Thanks for your earlier post, Andrew.

Appreciate all the great folks that take time to comment here.

ScottDS said...

Within a week, the MSM and the leftist magazines were already asking "why do they hate us?" and hinting that we deserved that terrible day.

I'm sure I'm oversimplifying it but, while I agree with you on the latter, maybe I'm misunderstanding you on the former. Asking "Why do they hate us?" might sound naive but I imagine plenty of people were asking that.

I've asked that about people who dislike me but it doesn't necessarily mean I did something to deserve the hatred. Some people are just schmucks! :-)

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: There are some advantages to being 3,000 miles away from Ground Zero. But I've only relaxed just recently. It always seemed to me that San Francisco was the perfect target for Islamists. Financial center, proud of its loose morals, big targets like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Transamerica Pyramid, the BofA building, the largest Macy's outside of New York City, and a relatively easy target to hit from the Pacific side. At least here when a big plane goes over (there's an air force base nearby) I don't hide under my desk anymore.

LawHawkRFD said...

Scott: That's a valid question, if you're not doing it solely for the purpose of answering your own question in the days that follow. And answer it they did. We're arrogant. We're just a different kind of terrorist. We're intolerant of the religion of peace. We're jingoistic. We're out to get persons of color. And of course, we're just doing this to create an atmosphere in which we can justify stealing their oil. See Maher, Sonntag, the entire editorial staff of the New York Times, Newsweek, Time Magazine among a host of others.

The real reason they hate us is we're the ultimate representation of Western Civilization, we are a free people, we're not like them, and we're not Muslims (even though we welcome Muslims into our society, a favor not returned). Trying to understand why a hater hates you is an exercise in futility.

Tam said...

I am glad that I still feel raw emotion, that my head aches every 9-11, that I have tears behind my eyes all day, that my tummy and throat are still tight. I've been playing patriotic music in my car for my kid's ride to school to help prepare him for his kindergarten celebrate America day, and the two verses of My Country, 'Tis of thee that stuck with me all week were "Oh beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife, who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life" and "Oh beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years, thine alabaster cities gleam undimmed by human tears." I remember the alarm going off that Tuesday morning, and in my semi-conscious state I didn't really hear the words but I knew something sounded strange in the radio voices. When the snooze time elapsed, I got up and walked to the tv thinking "something bad is happening...something bad is happening..."

I was pleased to come home from church today to see both sides of my street lined with flags.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tam: Great comments. I just can't shake the anger, and I'm not really trying very hard. When the enemy starts to act like civilized human beings from the twenty-first century instead of cave-dwelling primitives from the sixth century, I'll consider letting go of that anger. Contrary to all the blather, anger is a perfectly healthy emotion. It's not tantamount to "hate," and it's frequently helpful so long as the anger doesn't become the core of your being. Why should I give up my anger at an enemy which revels in mass murder, and is itself consumed with hatred?

TJ said...

I’m not very good with debates, because I don’t really think that fast on my feet. Back when everyone was screaming about waterboarding, one of my co-workers had an opinion about that as well. They felt it was terrible that we were resorting to “torture”. I immediately responded that what I considered torture were those poor people jumping to their deaths from those buildings. Just prior to that I had just re-watched that 9-11 special that was filmed by those two French brothers who were following a rookie firefighter around and ended up getting some incredible footage. It is truly heartrending. Needless to say, my co-worker had nothing to say in response.

BevfromNYC said...

TJ - Good for you! That's the kind of debate I like...just shutting them down with one statement.

TJ said...

Thanks, Bev - it's rare when that happens for me.

LawHawkRFD said...

TJ: Those shots of people jumping from the windows rather than die by fire are horrific. Nevertheless, I think that they do need to be shown--with discretion and in context. Those of us who saw the horror of the attacks live know and will remember the human side of it all. Those who were too young, or have only seen subsequent footage see only the collapse of some large buildings. They can see that on the Discovery Channel when they do building demolition shows. But people need to be reminded that those buildings contained real human beings, not just desks and papers. Buildings can be replaced, human beings cannot.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: I suspect TJ may be better at debate than imagined. But those previously unshown French brothers photos certainly do make a great argument.

TJ said...

LawHawk - the videos do make a great argument. But what is really heartbreaking and horrendous is the audio (particularly the segment with the firefighters in one of the towers). It is what you hear in the background that is so devastating.

It is that segment in particular that I thought of when my co-worker stated their opinion.

LawHawkRFD said...

TJ: That makes sense as well. It's horrific, but it's necessary.

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